venture capital fund. He was the chairman and one of four founders of the HuffPost news site, which debuted in 2005. He also served as chairman of BuzzFeed and is a minority owner of the New York Mets.

$15 million. The unit had been on the market for as much as $18.5 million last August.

The 4,262-square-foot apartment is configured with two bedrooms, including an enormous primary suite with a bathroom, dressing room and two walk-in closets. A double-sided gas fireplace sits between the bedroom and bathroom.

There is also a landscaped, wraparound terrace with views of the city skyline and Hudson River.

Ms. Ross, a philanthropist, is the founder of the Ross School, a private day and boarding school in East Hampton, N.Y. She was married to Steven J. Ross, the founder of Warner Communications, now known as WarnerMedia, who died in 1992.

The buyer used the limited liability company 712 Hubert.

through an auction for just under $11.3 million. This was a sizable discount from the $27.5 million asking price when it was initially listed in 2019.

died nearly two years ago. Mr. Nederlander died in 2016; he was the chairman of the Nederlander Organization, an entertainment company that presented arena concerts and theatrical shows.

$11 million for their duplex at 1120 Park Avenue, at 90th Street — just below the most recent $11.75 million asking price, though a big drop from the nearly $15 million they had sought last year.

Still, they made a tidy profit, having bought the place in 2009, reportedly for $7.4 million.

The sprawling co-op home features five landscaped terraces, providing picturesque vistas of the Central Park reservoir, the East River and surrounding cityscape. There are four main bedrooms, each with an en-suite bathroom and walk-in closet or dressing room, plus a staff bedroom and bathroom off the kitchen, a laundry room, and a home office.

The new owners were listed as Andrew J. and Sarah Anne Washkowitz.

Mr. Eisman is currently a managing director and senior portfolio manager at the investment management firm Neuberger Berman. He emerged as one of the few stars of the housing crisis by shorting, or betting against, subprime mortgages. He was featured in the best-selling book about the 2007-08 financial crisis, “The Big Short.”

Among the month’s other noteworthy purchases, the Beals paid $10.3 million for a limestone townhouse on West 80th Street, near Riverside Drive. The house — five stories high and 24 feet wide — has around 8,000 square feet, with six bedrooms and six and a half baths, plus a planted rooftop terrace. The seller was Jane Corbett Flusser.

won five Emmy Awards, including one for original dramatic music score for Netflix’s “House of Cards.”

The Hovnanians paid $8 million for a penthouse duplex at 420 West Broadway. The 3,593-square-foot co-op unit has two bedrooms, two full bathrooms and a powder room. But the main attraction are the terraces: There’s one off the living room and kitchen on the lower level; two off the primary bedroom suite, one of which has a hot tub; and a spacious rooftop terrace. Earlier this year, the couple sold their Greenwich Village townhouse for $15.9 million.

Mr. Hovnanian is the chief executive of Hovnanian Enterprises, a home-building company based in Matawan, N.J.

And just before the long Memorial Day weekend: The British director Nicholas Stoller (“Forgetting Sarah Marshall”) and his wife, Francesca Delbanco, a novelist and screenwriter (Netflix’s “Friends from College”), paid just under $7 million for an apartment at 30 Park Place in TriBeCa.

The federal government sold an apartment for $16.8 million at 15 West 63rd Street that it had seized from Riza Aziz, stepson of the former Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak, and the producer of “The Wolf of Wall Street,” in exchange for dismissing money-laundering charges.

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Homes for Sale in Brooklyn, Manhattan and the Bronx

Click on the slide show to see this week’s featured properties:

  • In Sea Gate: a four-bedroom, four-and-a-half-bath, 5,000-square-foot house on a private beach, with ocean views, a large open kitchen, a 35-foot living room, an office, a glass elevator, a finished basement with a 12-seat sauna, numerous balconies, a backyard and parking for two cars.

  • In Yorkville: a one-bedroom, one-bath, 800-square-foot apartment with two terraces overlooking the East River, in a 20-story 1950s building with a gym, bike room, laundry room and a doorman.

  • On the Grand Concourse: a two-bedroom, two-bath, 1,250-square-foot corner apartment with a terrace near Yankee Stadium and subway access, in a 23-story, 1960s co-op with parking, laundry and a doorman.

Additional reporting by Kim Velsey.

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The Do-It-Yourself Rain Garden

When it rains all weekend and you’re stuck at home, you have time to notice a lot of things. Like that one spot where water runs off the roof a bit too fast, some of it disobediently making its way into the basement. Or maybe you watched as rainwater rushed down the driveway, straight into a storm drain, or into a depression in the lawn where it always seems to pool after a downpour.

A scaled-down version of the storm-water management tactics used in municipal planning can help solve those problems, slowing water flow and increasing infiltration. And if the solution is landscape-focused and involves planting native species, it will also support pollinators and other beneficial insects, promoting overall diversity.

Think of it as a do-it-yourself rain garden to the rescue — and then some.

North Creek Nurseries, in Landenberg, Pa., is no stranger to the idea of using plants to solve environmental issues.

North Creek, whose motto is “where horticulture meets ecology,” is a wholesale producer of what are called plugs or liners, many of them species native to the Eastern United States. These baby plants are sold not just to garden centers but to landscapers, park systems, universities and municipalities. Plants used to restore woodland habitats and create meadows are among the company’s specialties, as are those that address water challenges in smarter ways.


search tool on the North Creek website allows users to filter for suitable plants, including obligate wetland species (those almost always found in wetlands) and facultative wetland plants (found in wetlands and non-wetlands). Choices with other relevant qualities, both functional and aesthetic, can also be identified.

A Way to Garden, and a book of the same name.

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Sparta, N.J.: Lakeside Living With an Alpine Vibe

Searching for a lakefront home last summer, Steven Fabian combed through listings in Connecticut, New York and New Jersey. Then he discovered Lake Mohawk, a three-mile-long man-made lake in Sparta, N.J., bordered by the quaint White Deer Plaza shopping district, with lively shops, restaurants and a brew pub.

“There’s so much to do — it wasn’t like you’re going from New York City to sitting around a campfire,” said Mr. Fabian, 37, a correspondent with the television show “Inside Edition,” who paid $725,000 for a 1935 lakefront home. Mr. Fabian and his girlfriend, Thea Gallagher, 36, a clinical psychologist and assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania, and Ms. Gallagher’s 2-year-old daughter, Georgia, enjoy kayaking and fishing on the lake.

Garden State Multiple Listing Service found 65 homes for sale, from a two-bedroom cottage in need of renovation, listed for $99,000, to a three-bedroom house on Manitou Island with 200 feet of lake frontage, listed for $3.35 million.

Both sales volume and prices in Sparta have risen in the past year. In the 12 months ending on May 15, 521 single-family homes sold at a median price of $431,000, according to the multiple listing service; in the 12 months before that, 379 single-family homes sold at a median price of $345,000.

The rising demand has led to multiple offers and quick sales, especially in the lower price ranges, said Lynn Garafola, an agent with Keller Williams. “Under $400,000 is crazy-insane,” she said.

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Cheaper Rents and Migration in Secondary Markets Boosting Demand for Tech, Finance, and Medical Office Space

Secondary cities are seeing a modest increase in office occupancy in the first quarter of 2021. These secondary metro areas have less expensive office rent compared to nearby major markets. Net domestic migration has also driven the demand for office space by information technology, biosciences/medical/health care, and finance companies. Get more data and analysis at Commercial Market Insights Report and Commercial Real Estate Metro Market Reports.

Office occupancy declined in 2021 Q1 but some secondary markets bucked the decline

Office occupancy continues to shrink in 84% of 891 metros, including in the gateway cities of Boston, Chicago, New York City, Washington DC, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.2 However, office occupancy rose in a few secondary/tertiary markets in the first quarter of 2021, with a total positive absorption of 1.1 million. In the West region, office occupancy increased in San Mateo County, San Diego, Sacramento, and Tucson. In the South region, office occupancy increased in Tulsa, Suburban Maryland, Fredericksburg, and Fort Myers/Naples. In the Northeast region, office occupancy increased in Brooklyn, Buffalo, and Syracuse.3

While the 1.1 million positive net absorption in these secondary/tertiary markets is a drop in the bucket compared to the 41 million square feet of lost occupancy in 2021 Q1 (and 138.4 million square feet since 2020 Q2), the increase in occupancy in secondary/tertiary markets presages is an indicator of the resiliency of smaller markets which have cheaper office rent and more affordable homes which have resulted in net domestic in-migration. Companies such as Apple are moving to less expensive cities.

Cheaper office rents in secondary/tertiary cities

The relatively low rent in secondary/tertiary cities is incentivizing more companies to locate in these areas. Of course, not every company will relocate to the secondary areas, but companies that provide health/medical, financial, and legal services, or other transactional services to the rising population in those secondary/tertiary areas will be the main drivers of demand in these areas.

For example, the office asking rent in San Francisco is $74 /square foot. Move further south to Los Angeles and the rent falls to $45/square foot, or in San Diego where the rent falls is slightly lower at $41/square foot . Or move eastward to Sacramento and office rent falls to $25/square feet. Apple just leased an office in San Diego in the first quarter where it will create 5,000 jobs.4

In New York City-Midtown, the asking rent is $71/square foot, but go up to Buffalo, Syracuse, and Rochester and the office rent falls to just about $20 per square foot.

Net migration in secondary/tertiary cities

The net in-migration in tertiary/suburban areas means a demand for real estate services, health care/medical care (hospitals , urgent care, dental offices), financial services, legal services, and other professional and administrative services.

During the period April 1, 2010- July 1, 2020, Lee County experienced the largest net domestic migration among Florida’s counties, with 144,482 people moving into the area. California lost 1.1 million people, 70% from Los Angeles County, as well as Santa Clara, Orange, San Diego, and San Francisco. However, some secondary/tertiary areas had a net in-migration like Riverside (149,712) and Sacramento County (17,924). Oklahoma experienced positive net in-migration of 41,279 during the decade, some of whom went to Tulsa (5,681).

Use this data visualization to check out migration trends by county:

Markets with net increase in office occupancy in 2021 Q1

Here are the cities/areas that saw an increase office occupancy in the first quarter of 2021. Technology, finance, biosciences/medical/health care, and government services drove the demand for office space in these areas:5

San Mateo

The largest increase in occupancy was in San Mateo County where leasing activity is being propped up by the demand from life science companies setting up in the area (Arcus Biosciences, Vaxcyte, and Plexxion). Rents in San Mateo, which is 19 miles from San Francisco, a bit cheaper, at $71/sq.ft. compared to $73/sq.ft. in San Francisco.

San Diego

Office asking rents are much cheaper in San Diego, at $41/sq.ft. Apple just put up an office In the San Diego area as well as life sciences/medical companies (Alphatec Spine, AnaptysBio, Dexcom) that drove leasing activity in 2021 Q1.


Office rents are just a third of the rent in San Francisco, at $ 25/sq.ft.  A health care company providing managed care (Centene) accounted for most of the leasing volume. The demand for health care is a result of the growth in Sacramento’s population in part from the net domestic migration[6] during the period 2010-2020, with a net inflow of 17,924 people.


The bulk of the increase in office occupancy was from TMC Healthcare, which runs the Tucson Medical Center.  Pima County had a net positive domestic migration of 35,533 during the period 2010-2020, and with a rising population comes the demand for health care. Tucson’s office rent is $20/sq.ft., slightly cheaper than Phoenix’s $27/sq.ft.


One of the largest new leases was signed by the General Services Administration signed in the third quarter of 20201. Its economy has diversified from energy into aviation, electronics manufacturing, and information technology services. Tulsa had a net domestic migration of 5,681 people during 2010-2020. Rent in Tulsa is one of the cheapest, at about $16/sq.ft. compared to Oklahoma City’s $20.sq.ft.

Fort Myers/Naples

Ameriprise Financial and the Lee County government accounted for the leasing activity in the first quarter of 2021. Ameriprise Financial provides financial planning products and services, including wealth management, asset management, insurance, annuities, and estate planning, catering to the needs of Florida’s seniors and retirees moving into the area.  Lee County had a net domestic migration of 144,482 people during 2010-2020.

Suburban Maryland

In the suburban Maryland market, a big lease came from Industrious, a provider of flexible workspace, an indication that flexible workspace solutions are anticipated to increase in the post-pandemic environment.


The area benefited from the demand from Defense Department contractors near Quantico Marine Corps base and the FBI Academy. Office rent in Fredericksburg is just at 24/sq.ft., less than half the office rent in Washington DC of $57/sq.ft. and slightly cheaper than in Northern Virginia of $34/sq. ft. Fredericksburg City had a net domestic migration of 1,669 people during 2010-2020.


In the Binghamton market, finance and IT service companies drove the demand for office space in 2020 (e.g., Progressive Insurance, BlueStorm Technologies, D&R Solutions). Office rent in Binghamton is $13/sq.ft.


The educational , medical , and aerospace industries have driven the demand for office space in Syracuse. The lease transactions in 2020 Q4 involved a finance company (M&T Bank, Morgan Stanley Smith Barney), IT company (ProQuest), an engineering consulting company (Anchor QEA),  law firm (Costello Cooney and Fearon), and a convenience store company (Speedway, LLC).

1 Metro areas or parts of metro areas as reported by Cushman and Wakefield

2 Source: Cushman and Wakefield

5 Cushman and Wakefield local MarketBeat reports

6 US Census Bureau Population Estimates Vintage 2020

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Add ‘Climate Hazards’ to Your Home-Buyer’s Checklist

“These things create a change in value and change a risk for this massive asset that you’re buying as a consumer, and whether people are proactively asking for it or not, we think it’s a responsibility to surface it to them,” Mr. Berkowitz said.

The risk of climate-related damage is higher for some sectors of the population. A survey on disaster preparedness from Allstate found that women are more likely than men to struggle in recovering financially from a natural disaster. Minority families and low-income households are also more likely to live in areas at risk of climate-related damage, and decades of racist housing policy in the United States has created an inequity of temperature, consigning Black homeowners to neighborhoods with higher temperatures and less shade.

With that in mind, Enterprise Community Partners, a national housing nonprofit, created Portfolio Project, a tool that offers a risk score for hazards including earthquakes, flooding and landslides. It’s free and available for any address in the country.

There are also more in-depth resources available for those willing to pay a fee. CoreLogic, a corporation that provides property data, as well as citywide and nationwide scores, offers detailed risk reports with data sourced from mineralogical scientists, climate scientists, engineers and statisticians. Their clients include FEMA, as well as insurance companies and mortgage servicers, and reports start at $18.

“We offer risk scores that are at a composite level to tell you the big picture of how at-risk your home is for natural perils,” said Tom Larsen, CoreLogic’s principal of insurance and spatial solutions. “Step one is to know your risk now. It’s granular. It’s at the house level,” adding, “It’s not going to hit every home the same way.”

As awareness of climate-related hazards grow, the companies crunching those hazards into easily understood projections are only going to get more popular, said Zach Aarons, co-founder of MetaProp, a PropTech venture capital firm.

“You’re on Twitter seeing images of people in their kayaks in the middle of the street, or you’re seeing photos of a sky over San Francisco that looks like the sky on Mars,” he said. “This is a market that is going to continue to emerge.”

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The Fantasy of a Cotswolds Country Home Meets Reality in Westchester

Like so many renovation projects, the transformation of Keren and Thomas Richter’s 1850s farmhouse in Pound Ridge, N.Y., involved no shortage of surprises.

When the couple, partners in an interior design firm called White Arrow, found a rundown house in late 2017, they assumed they could refresh it with a cosmetic renovation, and that it would serve as a bucolic weekend escape from their primary home in Brooklyn. Both of those assumptions turned out to be wrong.

“We would often come up to northern Westchester on the weekends and drive around, and we were always so charmed by how it felt like you’re in the country, even though you’re really only an hour away from the city,” said Ms. Richter, 40, who appreciated the fieldstone walls, old homes and generous lots.

INCA as their architect of record and Robert Lord Construction, the Richters mapped out their renovation plans for a year before beginning construction in December 2018. When the weather was warm, they sometimes camped out there.

“We got a Porta Potty, and our friends came up,” Mr. Richter said. “We had a firepit and tents and camped on the land, because the house was a shell.”

To restore the exterior, they found photos of the house from the early 1900s and aimed to recreate what was there more than a hundred years earlier, including a front porch that had been removed.

Inside, they hoped to create rooms that recalled not only early American homes but also English country houses. “In the beginning, we were sort of joking that we wanted it to feel like a Cotswolds country home, even though we’re in northern Westchester,” Ms. Richter said. “But I do think, in some respects, that is the vibe.”

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April 2021 Pending Home Sales Dip With Fewer Homes Available

NAR released a summary of pending home sales data showing that April’s pending home sales pace declined 4.4% last month and spiked 51.7% from a year ago. A year ago, the pandemic had hit the housing market and home owners were less likely to open their doors to show their property. A lot of Americans also decided to stay home and search online with virtual showings becoming the preference for looking for a home.

Bar chart: Pending Home Sales Index, April 2020 to April 2021

Pending sales represent homes that have a signed contract to purchase on them but have yet to close. They tend to lead existing-home sales data by 1 to 2 months.

All four regions showed double-digit gains from a year ago. The Northeast had the largest incline of 96.5%, followed by West with a gain in contract signings of 57.3%. The South had an increase of 45.3%, followed by the Midwest with the smallest gain of 39.4%.

Bar chart: U.S. and Regional Pending Sales, April 2021 and April 2020

From last month, three regions showed declines in contract signings; only the Midwest had an incline of 3.5%. The Northeast had the largest decline of 12.9%, followed by the South, which had a dip of 6.1%. The West had the smallest decline, of 2.6%.   

The U.S. pending home sales index level for the month was 106.2.

April’s contract signings bring the pending index above the 100-level mark for the 12-consecutive month.

Line graph: U.S. and Regional Pending Home Sales Index, January 2019 to April 2021

The 100 level is based on a 2001 benchmark and is consistent with a healthy market and existing-home sales above the 5 million mark.

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A Historic Brooklyn Mansion Goes on the Market for $30 Million

The palatial, four-story mansion at 53 Prospect Park West, with a sprawling garden and a pair of pedestaled lions keeping guard out front, has had a long, rich history in Park Slope, Brooklyn.

Built in 1901, just after the borough was incorporated into New York City, the brick-and-limestone structure was part of what was known as the “Gold Coast” of opulent homes that sprang up near Prospect Park around the turn of the last century.

The house was designed by William B. Tubby, the go-to architect for the prominent Pratt family, in a neo-Jacobean style, and was commissioned by William H. Childs, a financier, a supporter of Theodore Roosevelt’s Progressive Party and a founder of the Bon Ami cleaning products company. The mansion remained in his family until 1947, when it was acquired by the nonprofit Brooklyn Society for Ethical Culture, which supports social justice, among other things. It has used the building as a meeting house and for various programs.

$30 million asking price, and is used as a residence again, it could be the most expensive home sale in Brooklyn. (The borough record was set in January with the $25.5 million closing of a townhouse at 8 Montague Terrace in Brooklyn Heights; it was sold by Vincent Viola, the owner of the Florida Panthers hockey team, and his wife, Teresa Viola, an interior designer.)

The mansion, currently classified as commercial, was included in Park Slope’s first historic district designation in 1973. The front of the house has a classic front stoop flanked by concrete lion statues and a monumental arched doorway. The fenced-in yard, just under a quarter of an acre, is touted in the listing as “the largest private garden in Brooklyn,” with mature trees, perennial shrubs, a paved terrace, and a meditative seating area with stone benches.

The interior extends 5,724 square feet and includes a full, finished basement, which contains a large commercial kitchen and what used to be a billiards room. Judith Lief, a broker for the Corcoran Group who is listing the property with her colleague Talia Magen, says the offices in the building could easily be converted back to bedrooms. The listing estimates six bedrooms, in addition to the two full bathrooms and three powder rooms.

Many of the original architectural details remain intact — albeit in need of some T.L.C. and refurbishing — including six fireplaces, hardwood floors, numerous stained- and leaded-glass windows, carved walnut ceilings and hand-painted friezes. The curved staircase in the entrance foyer features carved scabbards as balusters.

Mary Childs Draper, was an early advocate for birth control and helped form the Planned Parenthood Federation of America.) Throughout the house are high ceilings and oversize windows. “It gets brilliant light on every floor,” she said.

Ms. Lief sees two types of potential buyers for the mansion. “One could be a private homeowner who wants one of the most extraordinary sites in New York City,” she said. “Another could be a nonprofit, a private school or museum.”

“The least likely buyer, for a host of reasons,” she added, “would be a developer who’s going to subdivide it. That’s not our target audience.”

While the Brooklyn Society for Ethical Culture wouldn’t comment on why it was selling the mansion, Ms. Lief noted that the group hoped to relocate to another space in the area. “They’ll be looking for another location that’s more manageable,” she said. “It’s a large, expensive property to maintain.”

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